The overarching goal ofthe Pilot/Exploratory Studies Core (PESC) is to promote innovative and promising research that addresses the predictors, characteristics, and outcomes of late-life disability, especially In vulnerable populations. We are especially interested in the interaction of serious clinical conditions, disability, and social disadvantage. The goals ofthe PESC will be achieved by accomplishing the following specific aims:
Aim 1 : Solicit and select innovative proposals from highly qualified applicants;
Aim 2 : Provide investigators of PESC studies with the support and infrastructure ofthe OAIC Cores;
Aim 3 : Integrate PESC studies and investigators with resources from the UCSF Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and other relevant resources at UCSF;
Aim 4 : Monitor the progress of PESC studies;
and Aim 5 : Provide mentorship and resources to transform PESC funded studies Into successful independently-funded projects. The PESC will focus on identifying projects from outstanding investigators who are conducting aging research that is likely to lead to external funding and is aligned with the OAIC theme. Leadership ofthe PESC will be under the direction of Christine Ritchie, MD, MSPH, who has a strong track record of independent funding and mentoring. We considered 11 pilot project candidates and chose 3 as initial pilot studies: 1) Dr. Emily Finlayson will determine the functional trajectories after breast cancer surgery In elderly women living in nursing homes to inform surgical decision-making;2) Dr. Salomeh Keyhani will use Natural Language Processing to extract measures of social risk and functional status from electronic medical records of hospitalized older adults to improve readmission risk prediction;and 3) Dr. Rebecca Sudore will test an Innovative web-based preparation guide In a county healthcare system among diverse, vulnerable adults, in order to enable them to make more informed, in-the-moment decisions during the course of disability and serious illness. Each pilot focuses on the OAIC theme of late-life disability in a vulnerable older population (e.g., frail nursing home residents, older chronically-ill hospitalized patients, and disenfranchised older adults with disability, serious illness, and limited health literacy). In addition, each pilot will provide data that will directly support future external funding applications to Inform interventions to maintain or restore independence and quality of life In elders.

Public Health Relevance

The PESC will provide a mechanism to support outstanding investigators interested In expanding their research to address the predictors, characteristics, and outcomes of late-life disability with a focus on vulnerable older populations. The PESC will support rigorous and innovative research that is likely to lead to external funding to continue high impact aging research and will also serve to mentor and nurture PESC funded Investigators to maximize their likelihood of success.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAG1-ZIJ-8)
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University of California San Francisco
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